Duties

The Duties section lists out the day-to-day responsibilities and activities for the job. The duties need to help the job seeker understand the type of work they’ll do and help them decide if the job is a good fit for them.

Current fields

This section may contain the following:

Previous fields

This section has contained this information in the past but has now been relocated:

Current fields

Summary

Summarizes what is unique about this job and lists the duties of the job.

The job summary is important to help job seekers understand what is unique about this job and why the job exists.

Required by USAJOBS

Yes

Required by Policy

Yes

Do

  • Write a concise one or two sentence summary.
  • Use the position description and job analysis to help write the duties.
  • Use language the job seeker knows and be concise—simpler is better!
  • Avoid internal jargon and acronyms—if an acronym is necessary, spell it out the first time it’s used.

Do Not

  • Do not use the job summary to discuss the mission statement of the agency. Agencies may now use the Agency pop-up window to convey details about the agency and link to your careers page.
  • Don’t use dehumanizing terms like “incumbent” or “candidate”.
  • Do not repeat other sections of the job announcement in the summary section (who may apply, et. al.). Duplicating information does NOT emphasize that information but, instead serves to clutter the announcement. Duplicated information confuses and overwhelms job seekers.
  • Do not center paragraphs or provide HTML formatting. This negatively impacts the readability of the job announcement.

Myth: Job announcements are marketing tools for agencies

OPM Policy

This myth is both true and false. While this is not policy, we recommend that job announcements focus on the job, not the agency. Job seekers conduct independent research about agencies they are interested in.

Impact

Our research shows that job seekers care more about the job details than the agency mission in their immediate job search. We recommend that job announcements focus on advertising the job itself, and that agency details and branding be kept on agency pages.

Responsibilities

Lists the duties the applicant will be expected to perform.

NOTE: This is a new field and may not yet be offered by your Talent Acquisition System (TAS). Work with your vendor in order to be able to use this field. This field may still be named Major Duties in your TAS in which case it will:

  • Not automatically use bullets though you may continue to provide content via bullets.

Required by USAJOBS

Yes

Required by Policy

Yes

Do

  • Use the position description and job analysis to help write the duties.
  • List each duty as a separate bullet.
  • Describe the day-to-day responsibilities of the job — be specific and include typical projects, resources or technologies that the job will use.
  • Prioritize the duties — put the most important duties first.
  • Use action verbs to start each bullet, such as “Lead”, “Manage”. Refer to the Plainlanguage.gov list of simple words and phrases.
  • Capitalize the first word of each bulleted item.
  • Include punctuation at the end of each bulleted item.
  • Use language the job seeker knows and be concise — simpler is better!
  • Avoid internal jargon and acronyms—if an acronym is necessary, spell it out the first time it’s used.

Do Not

  • Don’t make the duties section overwhelming — a list of 20 duties is too much. Instead, prioritize the most important duties.
  • Don’t use dehumanizing terms like “incumbent” or “candidate”.
  • Don’t repeat duties.

Examples

Some example responsibilities that have previously appeared in other sections of the job announcement:

  • Incidental driving: Tells the applicant they may need to operate a vehicle as part of their duties.
  • Physical requirements: Tells the applicant they may need to life a certain weight to fulfill their duties.
  • Uniform: Tells the applicant they may have to wear a uniform to fulfill their duties.

Be sure to also review the Optional responsibilities section towards the bottom of this page.

Myth: If using a standard Position Description (PD), HR specialists aren’t allowed to include specialized skills in the job announcement

OPM Policy

You can include specialized skills in your job announcement. Position descriptions outline the occupational series and grade level of a position in accordance with OPM classification standards. The job analysis identifies the critical competencies and defines the specialized experience and skills needed to perform the work of the position. HR and the hiring manager should collaborate to conduct the job analysis and use the results to develop the job announcement.

Impact

The job announcement should reflect the specific duties and requirements of a role. Providing specific detail about the job helps job seekers determine if they are qualified for a job and understand what the role entails. When a job seeker fully understands the position, they are able to make an informed decision about whether or not to apply.

Travel Required

This tells the job seeker if the job requires travel.

Options include:

  • Not required
  • Occasional travel
  • 25% or less
  • 50% or less
  • 75% or less
  • 76% or greater

Read more about travel percentages.

Required by USAJOBS

Yes

Required by Policy

Yes

Do

  • You must enter a value—if the job requires no travel, enter “Not required”.
  • Only enter one value.
  • May include supplemental text to explain the type of travel, such as two weeks of training.

Supervisory status

This tells the job seeker if job requires supervising others.

Options include:

  • Yes
  • No

Required by USAJOBS

Yes

Required by Policy

Yes

Do

  • You must enter a value — don’t leave it blank.

Promotion Potential

This tells the job seeker if there’s an opportunity to move up in the grade level.

Required by USAJOBS

Yes

Required by Policy

Yes

Do

  • Always enter a value—enter “No” if there is no promotion potential
  • Enter the highest GS level of the potential job promotion.

Do Not

  • Do not repeat this information elsewhere.

Recent change

With the 6.5 release we moved Promotion Potential out of the Overview section into Duties. We did this for several reasons:

  1. We conducted several rounds of card sorting with job seekers. Promotion Potential scored in the bottom half along with announcement and control number which also moved out of the Overview section.
  2. It allowed us to reduce the amount of information in the Overview section making the information that remains there more effective (readable and retainable).

Who May Apply

This field is only available if your TAS does not offer the hiring path multi-select option.

Use this section to list who is eligible to apply to the job. We also use the text in this section to auto-populate the This job is open to section.

Required

Yes, if your TAS does not offer the hiring path multi-select option.

Who May Apply does not appear if your TAS uses the hiring path multi-select option.

Do

Do Not

  • Do not include information that is not relevant to eligibility. See the prerequisites section for guidance.

Prerequisites

In the past, the Who May Apply section included eligibility information as well as a set of prerequisites for employment. However, the job announcement now has new sections to handle these ‘prerequisites’. See the guidelines below–we’ve listed the most common ‘prerequisites’ and where this information belongs in the new job announcement.

New field in API

We created new fields in our API to handle the prerequisites below. Work with your Talent Acquisition System (TAS) to request access to these new fields.

Prerequisite Description
Cut-off number When a JOA states it will only accept a certain number of applications
Evergreen Open-continuous
Evergreen with cut-off dates Both open-continuous and having specific cut-off dates
Location - commuting area Defines the radius of the commuting area
Location - state Common with National Guard, i.e. Virginia National Guard, but also some announcements where the applicant has to be within a specific state.
Second job announcement When JOA is split between two announcements with different eligibility
Hiring path changes

We updated an existing hiring path or created a new one to include the following information.

Prerequisite Description  
Agency employees only New hiring path “Internal to an agency”  
Reserves Combined with National Guard - Hiring path changed to National Guard & Reserves  
In the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd areas of consideration National Guard National Guard & Reserves
Education

This information is related to educational qualification requirements, not eligibility and does not belong in the Who May Apply section. Instead, list the level of education in the Education section of Requirements.

Prerequisite Description
Current graduate student in [field] A graduate student in a specific field of study.
Current high school student  
Current undergraduate student in [field] A current undergrad student in a specific field of study
Recent graduate in [field] A current graduate student in a specific field of study
Conditions of Employment

This information does not map to a hiring path, is not related to eligibility, and covers an assortment of cases best handled by the Conditions of Employment section.

Prerequisite Description
Current intern at agency  
Division only Common in National Guard announcements. Also examples of divisions within an agency (e.g. GSA employees within federal acquisition service)
Dual status or non-dual status Related to National Guard
Must attend a recruitment event  
Non-citizens Jobs open to non-citizens if there are no qualified U.S. citizens. Repeat in Conditions of Employment
PHS commissioned corp personnel  
Who can’t apply Current Postal service employees not eligible to apply
Qualifications

This information is not related to eligibility. Instead, put this information under Qualifications.

Prerequisite Description
Bilingual Language
Current occupation/job Looking for current ‘technicians’ or current ‘physicians’
No apply path

Some announcements don’t provide a way to apply online. This information is not related to eligibility and does not belong in the Who May Apply section. Instead, put this information in How to apply. Please provide a clear path via URL for job seekers to click on to apply on our site or find additional instructions.

Prerequisite Description
Can’t apply online Announcements outside of the competitive service.

Myth: You have to be a career employee to apply for merit promotion jobs

OPM Policy

Federal employees under a career- conditional or career appointment can apply to merit promotion jobs. Eligible veterans can apply for merit promotion jobs under the Veteran Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA).

Impact

Job seekers, including federal employees, don’t understand their eligibility and need more upfront clarification. Lack of clarity around eligibility increases the number of ineligible applicants that apply for a given job. Including information that is not related to eligibility but instead belongs in another section further confuses applicants.

Optional responsibilities

List any optional responsibilities in the Duties section.

Hazardous conditions warning

Tells the applicant that they may be near hazardous conditions on the job.

Suggested text

May be required to wear protective gear (i.e. Tyvek Suit and respirator).

Do

  • Include this text if it is applicable to the job.

Do Not

  • Don’t include this text in Other Requirements or Additional Information or anywhere else other than Responsibilities.

Previous fields

Relocation Authorized

The relocation authorized field has moved to the locations section and renamed to “Relocation expenses reimbursed”. We found in research that seekers were searching for this information when evaluating whether or not they would need to move to apply to this position and thus the Location section was a more logical placement.

Telework eligible

The Telework eligible field has been given a permanent home in the locations section. We found in research that seekers were searching for this information when considering their commute. We also found that seekers struggled to find the information as it is currently found in 4 sections: Duties, Key requirements, qualifications, and the job title. Giving it a fixed location will help seekers find this information.

Questions? Concerns?

This site is a work in progress. We will continue to this content until it is as complete as possible. If you have questions or concerns about the veracity of anything you read here please reach out to your HR director who can contact OPM Policy.

If you have comments about the site itself or suggestions on content to add please write to recruiter-help@opm.gov.